Purple Angels dementia awareness campaign is flying high in Wrexham

A campaign to turn Wrexham into Wales’s first dementia friendly town has been given a major boost by two education chiefs.

Both David Jones, the Principal of Coleg Cambria, and Professor Mike Scott, the Vice Chancellor of Glyndwr University, have given their wholehearted backing to the ground-breaking Purple Angels scheme.

The campaign was launched in Wrexham by the locally-based Pendine Park care organisation after it was suggested by a member of staff, activities and well-being coordinator Anita Moran.

The aim is to raise awareness with local shops and other businesses, providing them with a simple training manual so that they are better equipped to recognise the symptoms of dementia and respond accordingly.

Businesses that sign up to the scheme will then display posters and stickers with the Purple Angels logo to signify that they are dementia aware.

Anita, who was inspired to join the Purple Angels campaign by the experience of her late father Barry who had dementia, was overwhelmed by the support of the town’s two major educational institutions.

She is the first person in Wales to become an ambassador the worldwide Purple Angel campaign.

Her colleague, Chris Hodge, who works as a teacher with Pendine Park’s in-house training company, Smartcare Teaching Care Centre, has now also become an ambassador.

Anita, who works at the Hillbury care home, said: ““I really can’t believe it,  I’m so made up by the backing of Glyndwr University and Coleg Cambria because  I didn’t think I would get this much support.

“There is a lot of momentum building up now and it looks like my dream of turning Wrexham into Wales’s first dementia friendly town is about to come true.”

Coleg Cambria boss David Jones was delighted to support the campaign.

He said: “Unfortunately so many of us are touched by issues to do with dementia, though friends family and colleagues, so I think it’s really forward thinking of all of those involved in Wrexham to be involved in this initiative and I’m delighted Coleg Cambria can be involved.

“We also have so many young people who care for members of their own families who have dementia so raising that awareness of this issue is a top priority.

“We all need to work together and I take my hat off to the people here at Pendine Park, to Anita for the way she showed initiative and the way in which the proprietor, Mario Kreft, has backed her.

“I think there are so many things that are good about the Wrexham area and we’re leading the way in Wales on this issue.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Professor Mike Scott whose own grandmother had dementia.

He added: “It’s an excellent campaign coming out of Pendine Park which as we all know is doing so much great work.

“This disease is affecting so many people now – not just those who are unfortunate enough to have dementia but also their families and their communities.

“The idea of getting this wide awareness through the community of this is just a superb thing to do in the context of getting people to understand the seriousness of the situation.

“The sad thing is that the demographics tell us that this problem is going to get worse and worse and worse so it this is a vitally important campaign.”

It is also a cause close to the heart of Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft MBE.

He was inspired to open his first care home in 1985 because he was unable to find suitable care for his beloved grandmother, Mrs René Warburton, who had dementia.

Mario said: “The Purple Angels campaign has certainly struck a chord because  it’s just such an easy campaign to understand and so many people now are touched by dementia in their families.

“We need to become more aware of the impact of dementia on people’s lives and the little things we can do to make those lives that bit easier to live.

“The support of two major educational institutions like Glyndwr University and Coleg Cambria is crucial.

“Wrexham is ahead of the curve on this issue and I’m hoping the rest of Wales will take their cue so that we can become a much more dementia friendly country.”

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